Written a few days ago. Then I thought better of posting it. Then I thought better of not posting it... so here we go. Advice very much appreciated
Indigo is a lovely, lovely cat. I adore her. But... she's difficult. She's always been difficult. She's a jarring element and has been since a kitten, I often joke that if Indigo had been my first cat she'd have been an only cat but the fact of the matter is, she'd probably be fine as an only cat. People, she adores, her own kittens? Loves them. Other cats, not so much.
Earlier this year, Theo had a phase where he seemed very low, kind of depressed. He perked up again and is now OK, but I was concerned enough to research the issue and even consider finding him a quieter home. Now Ava's health is in question, although she, too, seems better now. But that's two of my cats reacting to a stressful living situation by getting sick, and whilst I hate to admit it, I think the cause is Indigo.
She is just so aggressive towards the other two girls. As I type this it is half past nine in the morning, I let her out of the living room at 8 am today and she's already gone for Sofia three times and Ava once, Theo has taken refuge in the boy's room and the boy and I are feeling cross and jangly. Integrating them has helped with the level of out and out agression, it IS better than it used to be, but Indigo is now indulging in regular territorial/ stress related behaviours, such as weeing- and pooping- on my bed. As in every day.
I've got feliway diffusers in several rooms, Rescue Remedy in their water, and seperate eating and toilet facilities, but it isn't helping. And now my neighbours are complaining about the noise she makes- she yowls when she's facing off with another cat and she is Very Loud. Oh they haven't been nasty about it, but isn't fair they should have to be disturbed in their own home. Something has to be done.
My friend has offered giving Indigo a trial living with her. I said I'd never ever rehome one of my cats... but I am seriously considering it. I must stress that it isn't the 'ideal' home for Indigo in that it has three young children, and she'd have access to outside, but I am questioning if she would do better there than here. I would obviously then be able to visit or advise. Or I could try and find her another home, but then I'd have to make a clean break with her- at least at my friend's I can visit!
Possible solutions- and issues with those:
1) Keep Indigo, neuter her, and see if she settles down.
The problem here is that I don't believe she will settle down. Not to that extent. She won't be hormonal, and that will help, but the fact will still remain that she just doesn't like other cats (unless they are her own kittens. Or Theo.) She's currently on the Pill, so without the worst of her hormones... she's still aggressive. I'm just not confident neutering would work, and once neutered, that's goodbye to breeding for me.
2) Keep Indigo, breed her, keep a kitten, neuter Indigo, hope for the best.
All the problems inherent in 1) but with the addition of another cat- not really a solution! Indigo turns into a normal cat when she has kittens though, she doesn't wee inappropriately, she isn't hyper-agressive, etc etc...
3) Keep Indigo, neuter her, and buy another kitten.
Not going to happen. The point of keeping another, home bred kitten is that I could integrate the baby with my other cats from the very start. Indigo came to my house and promptly spent 3 weeks in isolation, so strenuously did she object to the other cats. We reached an uneasy truce, but an ideal start it was NOT. Bringing in another strange cat to an already unstable mix would be foolish.
4) Neuter Indigo and rehome her
It might not work. Indigo is needy and anxious and very attached to me, would she sabotage it? Would the three children be just too much for her? Would I end up taking back a stressed and resentful kitty with behaviours ten times worse than they currently are?
5) Breed Indigo, keep a kitten, neuter Indigo and rehome her.
As 4, but then I'd have the additional complication of another cat. And it just seems so horrid, like I'd be 'replacing' Indigo. And there's no guarantee she'd have a girl, let alone a girl suitable for breeding.
6) Breed Indigo, keep a kitten, neuter Indigo and rehome her with one of her kittens
Hang the cost (because I wouldn't charge for the kitten, naturally) this might be the best solution, the presence of her kitten at her new home would calm her, distract the children (why bother a skittish old Mama when there's a friendly baby to play with?) and meet her need for company, because she DOES love her babies and she DOES love Theo, too. But again, as 4, but only then I would have SIX cats... both kittens would have to be rehomed.
Try to get some kind of sedative for Indigo in the short term, just to calm everything down here a bit. If necessary, medicate Theo and/ or Ava as well. Just till everyone chills out a bit more. Ugh, I have BIG issues with this as you may well imagine! It isn't really an option for me. If they are that stressed, a chemical cosh isn't the answer.
Or, I suppose:
8) Do nothing, and carry on as normal.
If anyone has any advice to give me, I'd gladly hear it. I really don't know what to do. Indigo's place here seems unworkable as things currently stand, but...
I love her. And I don't want her to go.